A picture of the planned hotel from outside in Enontekiö in the winter time
Photo by: Sigge Arkkitehdit

New Hotel Investment Responds to Arctic Potential

Tourists arrive as far as Enontekiö for the Arctic nature, silence and northern lights. The tourism industry in the region has a lot of untapped potential and opportunities for business development.

A new hotel, Cahkal Hotel, is being built in the stunning fell sceneries of the Arm of Finland, responding to the potential of Enontekiö’s year-round tourism. The hotel-service entity is an investment of approximately four million euros.

The cosy hotel is being built in the vicinity of Fell Lapland’s border in the village of Kilpisjärvi, next to the Nature Centre. The environmentally friendly, wooden structured hotel consists of 54 beds, a restaurant and sauna facilities.

– The building has been designed for the area with respect and consideration towards the environment and nature. Wood as the building material also provides warmth and cosiness, explains Margit Eskonen, CEO of Cahkal Hotel and entrepreneur.

In addition, part of the company’s operating plan involves high-quality programme services, which will provide tourists with a wide selection to choose from all year round.

Year-round tourism in Enontekiö develops

The tourism industry in Enontekiö had good growth before the coronavirus crisis. In 2019, approximately 150,000 overnight stays were registered, and the sales of accommodation totalled almost six million euros, which is a significant result in a small municipality.

Domestic tourists form the most significant customer group in the northern municipality. Tourism demand has focused on different seasons than in many other holiday destinations in Lapland since the summer and snow-free period is the busiest period for tourism in Kilpisjärvi. The development of tourism has been invested in: year-round capacity has strengthened, and foreign tourists have also become interested in the destination. Approximately a third of the registered stays in 2019 was for foreign tourists.

– There is a demand for such a year-round service entity, says Eskonen.

Accommodation aims to attract domestic and international active tourists interested in the tranquillity, peace and untouched nature provided by the Arctic region.

Two people with ski gears on top of a fell in Enontekiö in the middle of snowy winter.
Photo by: Ville Eskonen

Bold investments in Fell Lapland

Establishing an accommodation company has been a long-term dream for Eskonen and her husband Ville Eskonen, who moved to Kilpisjärvi around ten years ago. They considered the time to be right and decided to take action.

– A year-round potential can already be observed here, and it continues to increase, says Eskonen, – A long-term approach towards aspects must be considered, which is a life-long project. We believe that this has potential for success, she continues.

The Municipality of Enontekiö has also given its support for the project, and the collaboration has worked smoothly. Eskonen praises that the project has been warmly welcomed by the municipality and the other local operators.

Enontekiö’s business environment is praised: Eskonen finds it generally easy to operate as an entrepreneur in Enontekiö, and things work well, particularly in the tourism industry.

– The area supports entrepreneurs and things usually run easily which is another reason for us to have initiated the hotel project.

Top-quality programme services from unique conditions

The construction of Cahkal Hotel started just before the summer 2021. The service entity is estimated to be completed by the summer of 2022, and the first customers will be welcomed for the summer season.

Tourists seeking nature and tranquillity arrive in Northern Lapland. For example, visitors all the way from Australia and New Zealand come to Kilpisjärvi to go flyfishing.

– We have top fishing waters at an international level, says Eskonen.

The area’s attractiveness is also increased by the excellent conditions to observe the colourful Northern Lights: Kilpisjärvi is one of the best places to observe the Northern Lights, and customers will rarely be disappointed.

The company offers high-quality programme services according to the different seasons: fishing, cycling and freeriding. Eskonen and her husband have operated a programme services company in Kilpisjärvi for a couple of years.

The plan is also to organise combinations of activities, such as flyfishing excursions on electric bicycles.

– This allows the best fishing lakes and areas to be reached in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner.

The plan is to purchase further programme services from other local entrepreneurs as subcontracts, such as longer hiking excursions and reindeer activities.